December 12, 2009

Coming Out Late In Life

An interesting article at

Howard Selekman knew he had been attracted to men since he was 8, but in his 20s he still planned to marry a woman and have children with her. When he brought his fiancee to see his psychiatrist, the young woman was optimistic, even though she knew Selekman was gay.

"My wife-to-be said, 'I think love will overcome the obstacles,' " he said. "And I will never forget my psychiatrist saying, 'No, it will not overcome all of the obstacles.' "

The next 36 years would prove his psychiatrist right -- Selekman never overcame his feelings that indicated he was gay. This year, at age 61, he finally divulged his sexual identity to his brothers, and "went public" through sharing his story on CNN's iReport.

Marrying someone of the opposite sex, but coming out as gay or lesbian later in life is not uncommon, therapists say. A prominent example is actress Meredith Baxter, 62, who had been married to men three times but recently announced that she has been dating women for the past seven years. The thought of being gay "had never crossed my mind," before seven years ago, she told People magazine earlier this month.

Women, more often than men, report having these awakenings later in life, said Chris Kraft, clinical director at the Johns Hopkins Sexual Behaviors Consultation Unit. Males who decide to adopt a gay lifestyle late in adulthood generally have known about their orientation since their school years but do not want to risk telling others, he said.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

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